Sunday’s big clash dubbed ‘Le Classique’ between PSG and Marseille was postponed due to several players contracting swine flu. It is the first match at senior level to be cancelled due to the virus. In the light of recent reports in England, following players at Blackburn and Bolton contracting swine flu, it will surely be a worry to other football factions across Europe of the virus spreading amongst players. Three PSG players including Ludovic Giuly and Mamadou Sakho were diagnosed with the virus on Saturday, which was followed by a third case in the squad with other members of the coaching staff developing symptoms. The players and staff involved have been placed in quarantine as a preventative measure to prevent the virus spreading through the club and to opposing players.
The FFL have rescheduled the Ligue 1 clash for the end of November. FFL president Frederic Thiriez insists he has no regrets over the postponement as he told L’Equipe: “”What would people have said if the match had gone ahead and the Marseille team had caught the virus?” PSG and Marseille exhibit one of the fiercest rivalries in ‘the hexagon’ and violent clashes erupted in the south coast city of Marseille following the postponement, which Thiriez asserts were not a result of the postponement of the match.
The news from Ligue 1 comes paired with news across the channel. The Premier League’s most coveted assets are being warned to keep their phlegm to themselves after the Health Protection Agency warned it may be a way of spreading infection as swine flu threatens to upset the balance of the beautiful game. Fortunately for all victims of the virus, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has the solution in hot milk and red wine as a quick-fix remedy.
Back to the action on the pitch, and Week 11 of Le Championnat produced a shock result, which could have repercussions on the title race. Lyon, conquerors of Liverpool at Anfield last week with Cesar Delgado’s later winner, suffered a shock defeat at the Municipal du Ray. Nice destroyed Lyon 4-1 with Claude Puel’s side deservedly beaten after being thoroughly outplayed by a team languishing in the bottom half of the table. Goals from Mamadou Bagayoko, David Hellebuyck, Loic Remy and an own goal from Aly Cissokho put Nice 4-0 up before a late consolation from Ederson denied Nice a deserved clean sheet.
The result will not inspire Lyon fans that they can regain their grip on the title after previously winning the league seven years in a row before losing out to Bordeaux last term. Les Gones currently sit in third place, two points behind champions Bordeaux, who delivered a straight forward victory over Le Mans in Bordeaux, running out 3-0 winners. An own goal from Le Mans keeper Didier Ovono and further strikes from Arsenal target Marouane Chamakh and former Manchester United player David Bellion sent Lauren Blanc’s side back to the top of the table. It was a welcomed result for Bordeaux, who had lost their two previous matches against Auxerre and Saint-Etienne and gives the team a timely boost ahead of Saturday’s crunch match with AS Monaco.
At the other end of the table Grenoble’s wretched run continued as they succumbed to their tenth consecutive defeat at home to AS Nancy Lorraine. The result leaves Grenoble with no points from 10 games, with a deficit of eight points to make up already. Youssouf Hadji’s heartbreaking last minute penalty was enough to sink Grenoble’s quest for their first point of the season. Grenoble had originally led through Danijel Ljuboja, but ultimately proved to be the architects of their own downfall as David Jemmali put through his own net and Hadji’s penalty continued their miserable run in Ligue 1.
Week 12 highlights include the visit of Monaco to the Stade Chaban-Delmas to take on Bordeaux. The match on Saturday sees the top two battling it out in what is likely to be a key encounter in the French title race. Monaco go into the match on the back of a three game unbeaten run including last weeks 3-1 victory at Boulogne. Les Rouge et Blanc boast Ligue 1’s top scorer in Brazilian Nene, who leads the way with nine goals so far this term and Bordeaux will have to be on guard to stop a player in such a rich vein of form.
Week 12 Fixtures
Saturday, 31 October, 2009
AJ Auxerre vs. Montpellier Herault SC
Girondins de Bordeaux vs. AS Monaco FC
Boulougne Cote d’Opale vs. AS Nancy Lorraine
Grenoble Foot 38 vs. LOSC Lille Metropole
RC Lens vs. FC Lorient
Olympique de Marseille vs. Toulouse FC
AS Saint- Etienne vs. Olympique Lyonnais
Sunday, 1 November, 2009
OGC Nice vs. Le Mans UC 72
Stade Rennais FC vs. Valenciennes FC
FC Sochaux-Montbeliard vs. Paris Saint-Germain